The effect of patient gait on the material properties of UHMWPEin hip replacements

S Davey, JF Orr, FJ Buchanan, JR Nixon, D Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The wear of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) acetabular components in total hip replacements (THRs) hasbeen shown to be highly dependent on the direction of shear. Greatly reduced wear rates have been reported for unidirectional,compared to multidirectional, articulation in vitro. This work for the first time enables investigation of a relationship betweenclinical wear conditions, as determined by patient gait path, and the mechanical and structural changes that occur within theUHMWPE acetabular component. Individual patients’ wear paths were determined prior to revision operation from hip jointkinematics measured by clinical gait analysis. The material properties of the acetabular components removed during the revisionoperation were subsequently analysed. A technique using Fourier transform infra- red analysis (FTIR) was developed to quantifythe orientation of the individual UHMWPE lamellae. This study shows that there is a direct relationship between a patient’s clinicalgait path and the molecular properties of their UHMWPE acetabular socket. Patient kinematics are an important factor affectingthe wear and long-term biocompatibility of UHMWPE used as a bearing surface in THR.r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4993-5001
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Mar 2005


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